Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
Book of the Prophet Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Luke 10:21-24
The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks
Lambs entertaining wolves? Lions eating hay? Babies playing with cobras? What kind of world is Isaiah describing? Could this utopia ever exist? Could it exist any more than a world in which kings (or their sons) rule with justice, pity the lowly, and save the lives of the poor by rescuing them when they cry out? Can you imagine how far away that world is from the one in which we live today? How different is the king described in today's first two readings from the leaders we have placed in positions of authority and responsibility in our modern world? Yes, I know, I've given you many questions to ponder.
I find it telling that the ancient writers were inspired to reflect on better times than the ones in which they lived and that their hopes for the future, when the Messiah had come, would be for a world in which justice rules. In that world, justice would be the standard, not oppression, not meekness, not aggression, not cooperation, not confrontation. The hopes of Isaiah and the psalmist were for a better life for all in the world in which they lived.
As for me, the message Jesus brings to us today is that we make this world what it is, and how we live determines whether lambs can entertain wolves and lions eat hay. His message is one of care, concern, and compassion for others, not focus on ourselves. He calls each of us to rule our corner of the world with justice, pity for the lowly, and comfort to the poor when they cry out. We are shoots that have sprouted from the bud that has blossomed, and Jesus calls us to act with a spirit of wisdom and understanding, just as Isaiah says the Messiah will act.
The Advent season is a time of reflection, anticipation, and rejuvenation. It's our opportunity to review familiar readings and passages and search for relevance to where we find ourselves in today's world.
Question of the Day: How will you ask God to calm your heart, ease your mind, and fill your soul with a deeper understanding of how you can help bring about justice in our world?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, turn to me and fill me with Your grace. Let me live a holy life and be pleasing to you.